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How to Hire a Link Building Agency: A Step-By-Step Guide

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Boni Satani

February 12, 2024
How to hire a link building agency

Link building undoubtedly remains an integral part of an off-page SEO strategy – a tactic top-ranking websites often leverage. Yet, as per a Backlinko estimate, 94% of all the content on the internet has zero external links.

It only proves the point that many people only focus on creating the content and ignore investing in link building, which could result in subpar traffic. 

Another reason many people often avoid link building is that it isn’t as straightforward as it appears. Crafting a robust link building  strategy demands considerable effort, from meticulous outreach to persuading others to link to your content.

Given the intricate challenges and time-consuming nature of managing this in-house, many businesses are pivoting to a solution that offers expertise and efficiency – hiring a reliable SEO and link-building agency.

In this blog post, we’ll delve into how to hire a link building agency and why outsourcing the process might give your business the strategic edge it needs.

Key highlights

1. Outsourcing link building to an expert link building agency can be more cost-effective than hiring people in-house. A good agency helps reduce the operational cost, frees up your operational time, and provides the flexibility to scale the efforts.

2. Researching for and vetting agencies helps stay away from bad agencies that end up building low quality backlinks. Look for reviews on sites like Clutch, Google Business Profile, and forums. Evaluate their process and past work. 

3. A good link building agency is not necessarily expensive. But, at the same time, avoid agencies that promise speedy and unrealistic results and offer their services at discounted prices.

In this article, we’ll cover:

Link Building Case Study by Backlinko

For any website, high-quality backlinks are crucial to rank higher in search engines results pages (SERPs). 

A study by Backlinko shows the top search result has about 3.8 times more backlinks on average than the rest of the top 9 results. 

The significance of link-building is evident in its impact on the rankings. To achieve prominent results, investing in this strategy is crucial. Without such an investment, appearing on the first page often becomes challenging.

Given the clear impact backlinks have on rankings, here are a few reasons why you should outsource link building:

1. Reduce operational costs

Managing an in-house link building team requires significant operational expenses for supervision, tools, training, and other overhead costs. 

In this scenario, outsourcing to a reliable link-building agency converts link building from a fixed cost to a variable expense based on the work completed. Plus, you avoid subscribing to various link building tools and recurring expenses associated with an in-house team.

2. Bring in the required expertise

A lot of times, businesses attempt link building exercises in-house. However, they rarely achieve the desired results. 

This is because it is a cumbersome and relationship-driven process. To get credible backlinks, you must reach out to many webmasters  and offer value in exchange for links. Basically, answer the proverbial question – what’s in it for them (to give a precious link to you)?

Call it a trust deficit or whatever, but many brands tend to ignore unsolicited outreach methods, even if you are truly offering something of value to them. 

An experienced and authoritative link building agency has the expertise, network, and resources to get those high-quality links successfully, for you. 

They can secure quality placements on sites with high Domain Authority (DA) , influencing search rankings. Therefore, leveraging their expertise is far more effective than attempting in-house link-building.

3. Flexibility to meet the growing demands of your business

Even if you do have an in-house SEO team to help drive organic traffic to your site; relying solely on your internal resources can heavily limit your ability to scale as your business grows. 

A dedicated agency has the capacity, necessary tools, and human resources to support and expand link building activities over time. As your goals expands, leveraging the scale of an expert agency enables your link profile to grow in tandem along with your other increasing business goals.

4. Free up time

Link building process is inherently time-consuming as your team has to contact different websites on your behalf and ensure the links are properly placed and working when they are live on those websites. 

Hiring an agency allows you to free up your in-house team to focus on the other key areas of your business.

Also, if you hire a competent agency, they manage themselves well without requiring your constant supervision and handholding.

1. Get well-versed with link building

Although the point of hiring a link-building agency is to avoid doing the deed yourself, having a basic knowledge of how it works is important. Knowing which links help increase your ranking and which may have the adverse effect can help you stay on top of the project.

2. Identify the pages & keywords you wish to target 

Start by defining your link building goals and requirements, which will help you identify the suitable agency. 

To effectively engage in link building, you should specify the target pages and potential keywords. As a client, you should also mention the priority of these pages based on the potential value you foresee of a page, if it appears in the top 10 results in the SERPs. 

This information helps the link building agency outline the initial plan and refine the strategy for optimal outcomes.

3. Research top agencies 

Once you have finalised your list of pages and keywords, start looking for top link building agencies familiar with your domain or those with the required expertise.

Asking around in your own network and communities for potential agencies that fit your requirements can be helpful. You can ask other businesses, your team members, or simply research on Google for some relevant suggestions on link building.

You can consider the below points when reviewing the agencies:

3.1. Evaluate & review the agency’s past work 

With the above step, you’d have shortlisted a few agencies that you can consider for outsourcing your link building activities.

Reach out and evaluating the services offered by these agencies to understanding their competency, approach, and how they could potentially cater to specific needs. It provides an initial filter to choose the best suited link building agency for your business.

Take time to review the links that they have built for some of their existing clients, consider their relevance, placements, authority, and strategic values. 

3.2. Ask for case studies

Any reputable link-building agency will have a strong portfolio and should be able to provide you with referrals and link building case studies from their previous projects. This can help you understand their work, strengths, and strategies better.

3.3. Questions to ask

Ask questions like the ones mentioned below to learn more about the agency and their understanding of backlinks:

  • What techniques do you use for outreach and securing placements? Can you share examples of outreach emails?
  • Do you build relationships with site owners and editors directly or rely on automation?
  • How do you ensure your links are of high-quality and avoid spammy links that can lead to penalization?
  • How do you monitor new links once they are acquired? Do you provide ongoing tracking and analytics?
  • What happens if a link is later lost or removed? Do you replace lost placements?
  • Can you tell us more about your process to identify potential link building opportunities?

4. Start with a defined first project

When engaging with a new link building agency, start by assigning a clearly defined initial project. This allows you to evaluate their skills and align your expectations before committing to an ongoing partnership. 

Whether you need backlinks added to existing content or high authority links for a pillar page, provide in detail the precise goals and desired outcomes for the first project. 

We find it’s best to have agencies start with a tightly scoped project rather than asking them to build backlinks for all pages. This focuses the effort, sets clear metrics for gauging results, and reveals how well you and the agency might work together.  

5. Look for transparency in work & communication

Transparency in link building workflows is crucial. When hiring an agency, you should look for complete visibility into their activities. The agency should readily share the links built, data on placements, and access to track campaign progress. 

Make sure you have clear expectations upfront around reporting and access. Responsible agencies will proactively provide visibility rather than treat the linking exercise as a black box.

6. Provide the agency with reasonable time to adapt to your needs

As we mentioned above, starting out with a new link building agency takes time for both sides to sync up and build an efficient working rhythm. Be realistic with timelines from the initial stages itself. Seek transparent two-way communication. 

Especially at the beginning, plan to allocate 30-45 minutes every week (if needed, be prepared to give more time) for addressing the agency’s questions, providing feedback, and ironing out the details. This upfront time investment pays off through better collaboration down the road.

As the agency adapts to your needs, stay involved while also giving them the room to operate. Offer insights into your goals and industry, but don’t micromanage. Building trust lays the groundwork for a productive long-term collaboration.

7. Review the performance and make changes as needed

Once the first defined project with your new link building agency wraps up, assessing the results is imperative. Take time to review the links built – their relevance, placements, authority, and strategic value. 

While full ranking impact takes time, evaluating early links provides key insights into the agency’s expertise and their understanding of your industry, and your project requirements.

This initial review stage allows you to course correct and realign if needed. If some domains or link types are off-target, provide feedback to refocus efforts. Also, maintain a log of backlinks, their status, and key changes made to the website to align with your link building activities.

Link Building CTA

Do you need help with Link Building?

Contact us today! We offer a variety of link building services that can help improve your website’s ranking on search engines.

Companies make a few common mistakes when outsourcing their SEO services, especially link building. Some of the most prominent errors are listed below:

1. Having unrealistic expectations

Sometimes, clients expect that they will start ranking in just 1 to 2 months. It does not happen; realistically, one should wait for at least 4 to 6 months to start seeing some results. So it’s important to have the right expectations. 

2. Looking for a cheaper agency

When hiring a link building agency, don’t lock yourself into a severely limited budget limit that compromises on quality work. 

Building great links takes a considerable amount of time, effort, and resources. Unrealistic pricing likely signals under skilled staff, automated outreach, or low-quality backlinks. Therefore, stay open to reasonable costs that align with achieving your goals.

Of course, higher fees don’t guarantee better quality of service. But link building necessitates resources like writers, tools, and manual outreach, which come at a cost. So, your spending expectations should mirror that, too.

3. Working with agencies that promise fast results

As covered earlier, link building and SEO activities, in general, take time to show results. Beware of the agencies promising unrealistically quick results from link building campaigns. Building high-quality, organic links takes time – generally 3-4 months to see initial minor improvements and 6 to 8+ months for consistent ranking gains.

If an agency claims they can obtain hundreds of links within weeks or that their strategy will deliver speedy results in just 1-3 months, they are likely overpromising. 

Fast results may also indicate low-quality, spammy tactics that could get your site penalised and adversely affect its overall SEO. It is recommended to avoid that at all costs.

4. Not actively providing feedback & re-aligning the efforts 

Effective link building hinges on continuous communication between clients and agencies. Constructive feedback ensures that the strategies are in sync with your goals and industry norms. Without it, link building efforts can fail due to misaligned expectations.

Moreover, SEO strategies warrant frequent adjustments, thanks to the various algorithms or policy updates the search engines keep introducing. Clients should actively engage with their agencies to review the progress to be able to get the desired end result.

As we explore the process of how to hire a link building agency, if you want to increase your website’s authority and consequently raise its ranking and get more traffic, consider partnering with Zestard—an SEO expert with more than a decade of experience in building high-quality, PR-driven backlinks. 

At Zestard, we offer a variety of link building services with transparent communication and can help improve your website’s visibility with HARO, guest posting, link audits, and broken link building.

With clients that vouch for our service and case studies that speak for themselves, you can rest assured that you get a reliable and result-orientated link building agency to partner with.

We have engaged with the Zestard team for link-building services, and I have to say that they do it at the next level. They have a custom outreach process to deliver backlinks that you won’t find anywhere else. The team is knowledgeable, dependable, and trustworthy, and they’re doing outstanding work. I love that there are well-tested SOPs to strategize and deliver the work. I can highly recommend Zestard for your link-building efforts.

Lucian Florian, (Founder at FLDTRACE)

I have been working closely with Boni and his Zestard team for close to half a year now. Having done link building in my career, I can honestly say these guys really know what they’re doing. All of their work is fully transparent, and they never gave any false promises or inflated numbers. When we started working together, I quickly found out they had such expertise when it comes to outreach link building. They were able to drive some high-quality links at a reasonable cost, and I was impressed with their work. I can highly recommend them.

Suganthan Mohanadasan, Co-Founder (Snippet Digital & KeywordInsights)

Final Note

Learning how to hire a link building agency is important for safe, effective, and result-driven link building. We hope this guide offered you some necessary and fundamental primers to help you choose a reliable link-building agency and the mistakes to avoid when choosing one.

Our team of SEO and link-building experts can help you turn your website into your strongest and most profitable customer acquisition channel. If you wish to learn more about Zestard, our past projects, and how we can help you, book a call with one of our SEO and link building experts today!

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Boni Satani

Boni Satani is the Co-Founder & Marketing Head at Zestard Technologies. With over 10+ years of experience in SEO, Boni has helped many national and international businesses increase their online visibility and reap high ROI. He frequently blogs for the Search Engine Journal and YourStory. You can find Boni on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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